Archive for September, 2012

WATERCOOLER CHAT: GOLDEN TATE TALKS TO MEDIA, REPLACEMENT REF STANDS BY DECISION, NOTRE DAME LANDS JACKSON

FOOTBALL

In the NFL, after days of controversy surrounding Golden Tate’s game winning touchdown (or lack thereof) catch against the Green Bay Packers, it looks like Golden Tate has come out to talk about it with the media.  Yesterday, Tate admitted that he did, in fact, push one of the Packer defenders — a blatant pass interference that went uncalled by the replacement refs.  He said that this is football, and in the heat of a fast moment he did whatever he thought he needed to to catch the ball.  Tate actually equated the moment to playing backyard football as a kid — do what you gotta do to catch the ball.  But, Tate went on to say, that he would not apologize for anything else.  Tate mentioned that he knows a lot of people want him to just come out and say “I didn’t catch the ball”, but he doesn’t feel that way.  After all, he had an arm around the ball just the same.  The call is controversial because it could have gone either way.  However, the NFL said the Packers should have won the game.  Either way, Tate has an additional 6000 Twitter followers thanks to the media storm.

And in an addendum to this game, the replacement ref who made the now famous touchdown call, Lance Easley, stands by his decision — saying that it was clearly a touchdown.  Speaking to TMZ, Easley said of the Packers player who allegedly intercepted the ball never had singular possession because, “You have to not only have the ball but have either 2 feet or a body part on the ground, and that never happened.” Easley says this was clearly a case of simultaneous possession”.  In a simultaneous catch, the catch goes to the offensive player.  Easley added, “Put any other official who knows the rules and they would make the same call.”.  Easley typically refs High School games.

BASKETBALL
Elsewhere, in college basketball, it looks like there might be a new team on the rise.  Notre Dame is primarily known for its football program.  Their basketball program has shown spurts of greatness, but usually exits the tournament quite early.  Thursday, Notre Dame landed the #4 point guard recruit in the country, Demetrius Jackson.  Jackson is a local hero in Indiana, and he opted for Notre Dame over other big schools that would love his talent.  Notre Dame hasn’t had an NBA caliber point-guard in forever, and when you have that kind of talent on your squad, it means more national attention from the media.  Who knows, Notre Dame might enter the conversation with Kentucky and Kansas this year.  Maybe they will be a threat come tournament time.

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WATERCOOLER CHAT: NFL REACHES DEAL WITH THE OFFICIALS!!!!!

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HOORAY! The NFL Reached a deal with the officials late Wednesday night/Thursday morning. After three miserable games of officiating (culminating in last week’s horrendous Packers/Seahawks fiasco), the replacement officials are gone and the pros are back. The NFL got what they wanted and the officials seem happy too. The NFL wanted more accountability in the officials as well as some full timers. As of the 2013 season, they are able to recruit some full time officials, and are able to work with some developmental squads which will give them some depth. The officials got more money and aren’t going to lose their pensions (at least for the first half of the 8 year deal).

Us fans are clearly happy (tired of talking about bad calls on the field) and the Players are ecstatic!

 

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WATERCOOLER CHAT: MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL CONTROVERSY….BRING BACK THE REFS!

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In the NFL, it was an insane game on Monday Night Football between the Green Bay Packers and the Seattle Seahawks.  Both teams were 1-1 coming into the game, and both were looking for the positive feeling of having a winning record.  This game was rife with controversy, as the replacement officials were making bad calls left and right.  But for the most part it was a defensive stand on both sides.  Then, in the second quarter, Seahawks rookie quarterback Russell Wilson heaved a beautiful 41 yard touchdown pass to Golden Tate.  Seattle up 7-0.  After the half, the Packers turned into the Packers again and took a 12-7 lead.  The Seahawks would have one last chance to win the game late in the 4th quarter, and here’s where the controversy really kicks in.

Seattle had the ball on 4th down with just seconds to go.  It was an all or nothing desperation play from the 24 yard line.  Russell Wison scrambled, looked around, gave his receivers time to separate, and threw a prayer to the left corner of the end zone.  In the fray was Golden Tate among 5 Green Bay Packer defenders.  Tate pushed one of them down, jumped up and… kind of made the catch.  In fact he and Green Bay’s MD Jennings both had their hands on the ball as they crashed to the ground.  And on the ground, it looked like Tate was holding onto both Jennings and the ball, which made it seem like he had the catch.  The replacement officials came over and one signaled NO CATCH, while the other signaled TOUCHDOWN.  That image alone is enough to suggest that it’s certainly time to bring the regular officials back.  In the end, after the review, the play was called a touchdown and Seattle got their miracle.  However, many TV critics say that there’s no way that was a catch.  It will certainly be one of the most controversial plays of the season — if not ever.  Seattle 14, Green Bay 12.
Elsewhere in the NFL, the Jets plan to have a good season this year, and much of that success is reliant upon their defense.  Their best defensive player is easily cornerback Darrelle Revis.  Revis went down with an injury in Sunday’s game against the Dolphins. The Jets coaching staff didn’t know the severity of the injury… until yesterday.  It turns out that Revis tore his ACL, and that pretty much means he’ll be out for the season.  That is a huge blow to the Jets, and they will need their other defenders to really step up.  And since their defense will surely be more porous, they’ll need even more points from Mark Sanchez and their offense.  Given their recent efforts, it’s unlikely that will happen.  Good luck to the Jets without Revis.
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WATERCOOLER CHAT: VIKES BACK ON TRACK, TEBOW GETS HIT TO THE HEAD, SAINTS SINK TO 0-3

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The San Francisco 49ers headed to Minnesota expecting a win.  The 49ers are the early Super Bowl favorites, as their defense looks impenetrable.  They have practically shut down two of the most explosive offenses in the NFL (the Packers and the Lions).  So of course they expected to ‘stuff’ a confused team like the Vikings.  Um, wrong.  The Vikings came to play, under the leadership of their second year quarterback Christian Ponder (Who is this you ask, well, he certainly gave us a reason to remember his name).  He finished with 198 yards and 2 touchdowns, plus a rushing TD he ran right through the Niners defense.  Before San Fran knew it, the game was over.  The Vikings may have had a slow start to the season, but they’re getting back on track, and we can’t count them out just yet.  Minnesota 24, San Francisco 13.

Elsewhere, the Miami Dolphins were looking to pull out a win their big rival, the New York Jets.  They got out to an early lead, but Sanchez and the Jets came surging back to tie things up.  By the way, that surge included what NFL Red Zone Channel host Scott Hanson called “a New York tabloid writer’s dream”.  Tim Tebow made an appearance, lined up in the slot, and Sanchez threw him a bullet pass — except Tebow didn’t see it and it hit him in the head.  It made him look like one of the three stooges out there.  Then, in overtime, the Jets’ Nick Folk hit a 33 yard field goal to give the Jets the win.  The Jets are a sloppy 2-1.  NY Jets 23, Miami 20.

Finally, in New Orleans, it was a battle of two 0-2 teams that simply could not afford to go 0-3.  The Saints have been lackluster this season, mostly because their head coach Sean Payton has been fully suspended for a year.  ‘Fully’ meaning he can’t call plays via text message or anything like that.  The Saints started out the game strong, but suddenly, the Chiefs got a miracle running performance from Jamaal Charles.  Charles had a whopping 233 rushing yards (granted he got overtime to continue tallying up the yardage) and 1 touchdown.  And in OT, the Chiefs Ryan Succop hit a 31 yard field goal to give the Chiefs the much needed win.  The Saints are now 0-3 and need to turn things around fast.  Kansas City 27, New Orleans 24.

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WATERCOOLER CHAT: GIANTS SHINE ON THURSDAY NIGHT, JOHNSON SAYS NO HOLES IN OFF LINE, GILLISPIE RESIGNS

FOOTBALL

In the NFL, it was Thursday Night Football between the New York Giants and the Carolina Panthers.  New York was looking to get back on track and continue defending their Super Bowl championship, whereas the Panthers were coming off a win against the Saints and looking to prove they are a team on the rise.  After all, they are captained by Superman himself:  Cam Newton.  Except Superman had quite a rough night out there.  In fact, it was turnover city for Superman.  Cam Newton threw three interceptions, and the team had two fumbles on special teams by former Arkansas go to man, Joe Adams.  Adams clearly had an off night, and the Giants converted both his fumbles into points.  The Giants had a lot of injuries too, but their young receivers and back-up running back Andre Brown stepped in at high throttle scoring two touchdowns and rushing for 113 yards.  The Giants showed they are definitely the Super Bowl defending champs and are a team to be reckoned with.  NY Giants 36, Carolina 7.

And over in Tennessee, Chris Johnson has been struggling this season.  He is nowhere near the fantasy running back force he used to be.  He has been under extreme criticism for giving the Titans absolutely no rushing game.  Chris Johnson is the highest paid player on the team, so he’s getting all the criticism, but Thursday Johnson did point a few fingers.  He said that the offensive line isn’t showing him any holes, and when a running back doesn’t get holes, there’s not much they can do.  The Titans have been pretty lackluster so far this season, but they’re hoping to get back on track against the Lions this coming Sunday.  In fact, both these teams need to get back on track.

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Texas Tech had pinned all of their hopes and future on new head coach Billie Gillispie.  Gillispie was the coach that turned around the Texas A & M program, then landed the job as the Kentucky head coach.  But recently, Gillispie has not only battled health issues, but also battled claims from players that he has been too tough on them — even mean.  One star player on Texas Tech said he wouldn’t come back if Gillispie was the head coach.  Now, it seems that a combination of his health issues combined with the criticism has lead to Gillispie resigning as head coach of the Texas Tech Red Raiders.  Someday he may coach again, but many hope he changes his coaching ways before running another group of young people.

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WATERCOOLER CHAT: JONES WANTS KNEEL DOWN ILLEGAL, JOSH MORGAN DEATH THREATS

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Dallas Cowyboys Owner, Jerry Jones, came out and said he thinks the kneel down (play used at the end of the half or end of the game where traditionally the Quarterback sits on his knee to run the clock down) should be illegal. This has been a hot topic all week because at the end of the Giants vs Tampa Bay game on Sunday, the Giants were ahead 41-34 with five seconds left. At the snap, QB Eli Manning put his knee down to in what’s called the Victory Formation (clearly with the offense ahead and with 5 seconds to go, they were going to win). The Coach of the Tampa Bay Bucs (Greg Schiano) wasn’t convinced it was over so he instructed his defensive line to go full force (which they did and caused Eli to fumble). The Giants still won the game but the Giants coach, Tom Coughlin and Schiano went at it after.  There’s no rule that says you can’t rush the QB if he’s in victory formation, but many players and coaches believe there is a “gentleman’s agreement” not to cause any undue harm when there’s virtually no chance of a comeback.

In other NFL news, Redskins’ Wide Receiver, Joshua Morgan has been receiving death threats on his twitter account. In the game against the Rams last weekend, Redskins QB, RGIII had marched his team downfield to within field goal distance and the chance to tie the game. After the third down pass to Morgan, a bit of an altercation broke out and Morgan threw the ball at Ram’s Cornerback Cortland Finnegan. You REALLY can’t do things like that so of course the Redskins were penalized and out of field goal range.

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WATERCOOLER CHAT: TURNER ARRESTED, CUTLER SCREAMED, SABOL DIES

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In the NFL, just one night after their Monday Night Football win against the Broncos, Atlanta Falcons running-back Michael Turner was arrested for a DUI.   If you’re making tons of money as an NFL running-back, the least you can do is get yourself a limo, or a designated driver, or at the very least a cab.  Instead, Turner got arrested for speeding and driving under the influence.  Remember that Turner is becoming less and less a factor for the Falcons this season.  He’s 30 years old, and the Falcons rely on their passing game.  If Turner doesn’t turn his act around, he could become expendable at the end of the season.

Elsewhere in the NFL, after last Thursday’s shellacking by the Green Bay Packers, Jay Cutler got so mad that he screamed at his left tackle and even bumped up against him as if he wanted to start a fight.  Players don’t take to that kind of behavior from their team captain and quarterback.  It’s disrespectful.  Yesterday Cutler said that he regretted ‘bumping’ up against the offensive tackle, but he doesn’t regret screaming at him to get his head in the game.  Cutler said that they’ve talked about it, and the event is in the past now.  Cutler wants to win out there and he expects the best from his players.  If  not for his offensive line, Cutler has no chance of being successful.

And finally in the NFL, some sad news.  Steve Sabol died at the age of 69. Sabol was president of NFL Films.  He basically transformed the NFL from ‘just a game’ and gave it that film aesthetic that would cement it as a piece of important American culture.  NFL Films shot every game and presented it in a way that made all the players look heroic and gave us that slow-motion imagery that enables us to enjoy those classic football moments (e.g. Montana’s pass to Jerry Rice in the Super Bowl, David Tyree’s Helmet Catch, etc…).  ESPN runs specials with Sabol introducing us to various moments in football history, or even guiding us through last week’s games that now look like they were played 10 years ago because of the excellent visuals.  Well, yesterday, Sabol finally succumbed to his battle with cancer.  He was integral to making football the popular sport that it is today, and will be forever remembered by football fans everywhere.

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WATERCOOLER CHAT: MANNING AND BRONCOS NEED TO REGROUP, SAINTS SCANDAL CONTINUES, SHAUN WHITE VANDALIZES ROOM

FOOTBALL

In the NFL, it was Monday Night Football between the Denver Broncos and the Atlanta Falcons.  Everyone was excited as Peyton Manning and the Broncos looked fantastic in Week 1 against the Steelers, and the Falcons looked like they were going to be a very tough team to beat this year.  This game could have been a shoot out.   But right off the bat Peyton Manning threw 3 interceptions and the Broncos looked terrible.  The Falcons, on the other hand,  fired on all cylinders behind a fantastic night from their quarterback Matt Ryan.  He had 219 yards and 2 touchdowns on the evening.  The Broncos had a comeback in the second half thanks to two rushing touchdowns from Willis McGahee, but it simply wasn’t enough in the end.  Peyton Manning and the Broncos are going to have to look at game film of what went wrong and come out swinging in Week 3.  Atlanta 27, Denver 21.

Elsewhere in the NFL, the investigation continues on the Saints players who reportedly were playing for bounties a few seasons ago.  Apparently, some new evidence has surfaced that linebacker Jonathan Vilma put out a $10,000 bounty to take out then Vikings quarterback Brett Favre. In other words, in conjunction with then Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, Vilma put an incentive to his teammates to injure Favre.  Obviously, this is barbaric and the NFL should/would come down hard on them if true. Vilma and his teammates, however,  have denied that these allegations are true.  The NFL continues to look into what actually happened in this situation, but all this new evidence (e.g. the Gregg Williams audio recordings) point to the fact that something truly terrible was happening behind the scenes in New Orleans.

OLYMPICS

Finally, in some bizarre news, the World’s best snow boarder and Olympic gold medalist, Shaun White, was arrested yesterday for vandalizing a hotel room.  According to sources, White destroyed his hotel room and pulled fire alarms throughout the hotel forcing everybody to evacuate.  He was very drunk according to police, and even fought back, kicking people as they tried to restrain him.  White had to spend the night in jail and will have a long way to go to gain a public relations comeback from this.  After all, White picked up a lot of endorsements in the past few years because of his ‘nice guy’ image.  This event could be detrimental.

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WATERCOOLER CHAT: PACK CAME BACK, ORIOLES NON LOSING SEASON, DWIGHT HOWARD

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Thursday kicked off the NFL’s first Thursday night game.  In year’s past, the Thursday night games didn’t start until Week 8, but since everybody in the nation seems to love football and it’s a ratings juggernaut, the NFL decided why not just have it every Thursday.  Thursday night, it was the Bears visiting the Packers.  The Bears looked terrific in Week 1, while the Packers lost to the Niners (in Lambeau) and simply couldn’t afford to go 0-2.  The Pack needed a win badly.  Thanks to tremendous play by the Packers defense, the Pack sacked Jay Cutler 7 times.  That gave Aaron Rodgers all the help he needed to start racking up the score.  Green Bay even scored off a fake field goal — that shows you how much they were firing on all cylinders last night.  The Bears looked pretty awful, and clearly have a lot of work to do if they want to be the Super Bowl contender everybody says they are.  Green Bay 23, Chicago 10.

BASEBALL

After a 14 inning amazing game against the Tampa Bay Rays, the Orioles got a bloop hit in the 14th inning from Manny Machado to give the Orioles the winning run.  With this win, the Orioles swept the Rays (an accomplishment in and of itself), and more importantly secured their first non-losing season since 1997.  That is a huge accomplishment for a team that has been less than exciting for more than 10 years.  Now, they’re in first place and will do their best to hold off the Yankees and the Rays over the next 20 games.  It won’t be easy, but the O’s have their sights on a World Series.

BASKETBALL

Finally, in the NBA, all the buzz in Los Angeles is around the theoretical super team they formed with Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash, and most importantly Dwight Howard.  It’s almost overnight that they became favorites to win the title.  But, now it’s being reported that Dwight Howard might not be ready for the start of training camp.  Sure, that may seem harmless to some, but Howard did just come off a major back surgery, and back surgery is not to be taken lightly.  First it’s late to training camp, and suddenly you’ll see reports that he’ll be out the first few games of the season.  That will not make Lakers fans happy.  But, for now, it’s only training camp, and Lakers fans remain optimistic that Howard will be healthy and still be the beast he was in Orlando.

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WATERCOOLER CHAT: CALHOUN RETIRES, NOTRE DAME JOINS ACC, THURSDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL

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Jim Calhoun,UCONN coach, is retiring after 40 years in the game. Calhoun recently had a fall off of his bike and broke his hip. Breaking your hip is never easy, but particularly for a 70 year old, it’s debilitating. Calhoun had his scandals over the years and was bombastic and tough on his players, but he won three national titles for  UCONN and will be remembered fondly by fans of the game.

FOOTBALL

Notre dame has agreed to leave the Big East Conference and join the ACC in all programs except football and hockey. Some are questioning this move but it seems to make sense for everyone. Notre Dame will continue to have its independence in football but, along with its traditional rivals (Michigan, Navy, Stanford…), it will be have access to some other great games due to its commitment to play 5 ACC opponents. For the ACC, adding Notre Dame (to even 5 games) boosts its television revenue and will now have access to other thriving Notre Dame sports such as men’s and women’s basketball.

Big game Thursday night in the NFL (got to love Thursday night games….a great break in the week).

The Chicago Bears will head to Lambeau Field to take on Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers. The Packers will look to try and come back from their loss last week against the 49ers. This should be a great game as Packers don’t want to start the season 0-2 but the Bears are on fire this year.

 

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